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NPP REACTS TO ALLEGATIONS OF LAND ALLOCATION TO BARROW

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By Lamin Cham

The governing National People’s Party has issued a statement signed by deputy spokesman Seedy Nije , reacting to a challenge posed by opposition UDP  leader Ousainou Darboe, asking President Barrow to clear the air about allegations that a government property has been allocated to him at South Atlantic.

Mr Darboe revealed this at a press conference last Monday. 

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But according to the NPP, the UDP leader spoke in a manner suggesting that  President Barrow perpetrated a land grab.

“In all respects, Hon. Darboe’s comments were mostly conjecture, showing he didn’t have sufficient facts and basis to make those statements.

For the benefit and future reference of all Gambians, all Gambian citizens may apply to the Minister responsible for Lands for the grant of state land under Section 11A of The State Lands Act. The President, as a citizen, is entitled to land allocation just like any other citizen. The allocation of land by the Government to citizens has been a longstanding practice throughout our existence as a nation, and it is a privilege so many of our citizens including ordinary Gambians from all works of life, junior and senior civil servants, junior civil servants, industrialists, educational institutions and religious bodies have enjoyed. The former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara was allocated a land for residential purposes through this process as well as thousands of Gambians including statesmen, businessmen, government officials, politicians, religious leaders, ordinary citizens, and industrial entities including Ousainou Darboe himself, Cabinet ministers, national assembly members including myself,” Mr Njie said.

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He cited as an example, and the equitable nature of the process, the recent allocation of land to National Assembly Members from across all political divides at Old Yundum.

“Similarly, if you go to Pipeline, Fajara, Kotu, Bakoteh, Salaji, Brufut, Bijilo, Brusubi, Kanifing, etc, thousands of Gambians got their land through the same process. It will be therefore erroneous or misguided for one to call for denial of same privileges to our sitting president on the bases of opposition.

President Adama Barrow welcomes political pluralism and opposition’s checks on government for a true and vibrant democracy. However, he encourages meaningful and effective checks that will positively contribute in our development journey not based on sentiments and emotions. Interestingly, Hon. Lawyer Ousainu Darboe himself was allocated the land on which his residence is built at Pipeline through this same process.

As a country, we need to build strong democratic foundations and as well advocate for allocation of land to sitting presidents.

In fact, UDP leader Darboe should have welcomed the idea as a way of encouraging and assuring our leaders that there is life after the Presidency. He should as well, as a statesman, proffer the ideas of getting our sitting President a home befitting of a head of state where he can retire at with all basic necessities. It is our responsibility as good citizens to provide avenues and incentives and privileges that will entice our sitting heads of state to be champions of good governance, rule of law and the principles of human rights. These are the things we expected the party leader of the UDP to say.

We wish to reassure Gambians that the leader of NPP is aware of the limited land resources we have as a country and his government is judiciously and stringently utilizing them. The principle of equity and that one person is entitled to one allocation is his government’s guiding principle.

To end, we take solace in the enduring fact that President Barrow is committed to democracy and due process. He is incorruptible and he will always respect procedures and abide by them”.

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